Archive for March, 2009

Tools of the Trade

Monday, March 30th, 2009

PhotobucketThese are some of the things I carry in my backpack when turkey hunting.  Season opens here April 20th, and last report there was still a ton of snow up north.  We got some more last evening, but thankfully Monroe missed most of it.  My permit is for the “late” season, so I won’t be hitting the woods till May 4th.  The heavy snow pack could work to my advantage, if the mating season is running behind.

In the picture (from left to right) you’ll see my Ben Lee twin hen box call first.  It actually will make two different tones imitating the hen turkey.  Next is my small “Latham” slate call.  This call is very compact, but has a excellent sound with little movement on the callers part.  I’ve had this call for 25 years.  Next is my Primos “gobble box” which makes   good gobble sound.  In the background is my Ben Lee slate call, and the one on the end is my latest call made by “Mad River.”  It’s the River Otter model, and presently my favorite box call.  Hanging from my big Tom’s neck is my Quaker Boy owl locator call.  I also use a crow call and have tried the peacock call to locate roosting birds.  Also pictured are my Bausch and Lomb binoculars, a very necessary tool, as your quarry’s eyesight is next to none.  You will notice the absence of a diaphragm call, as my gag reflex works overtime whenever I put one in my mouth.  The “wing board” in front is for making an early morning sound of turkey’s leaving their roost, as you flap the wing through the air.

Pattern your shotgun before going afield, and make sure you take a head/neck shot.  It’s always nice to catch him in the middle of a gobble, as you squeeze off the shot.  I use 5-6 shot myself, and may even use 4 shot if the situation calls for it.  You do not necessarily need decoys, but they certainly do work, especially in the early season.  Many guys are now using multiple decoys (me included) and a jake decoy or a mating set also work well.

The most important thing about turkey hunting is staying well concealed.  A pop-up blind will allow you some movement in the darkness of the blind.  If your on the ground any movement, you make, will likely work against you.  It’s best to have your shotgun resting on your knee or shooting sticks before the turkey gets very close to your position.  Sometimes a Tom will come into your calling unannounced!  These silent birds are difinatly more likely to give you the slip, so you have to be on “full alert” at all times.  Be like Joe Giarmo (the boxing coach) keep your guard up!  Good hunting guys and gals, and children of all ages.

Mike

Spring Bear Teaser

Friday, March 27th, 2009

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketTony\'s big bearbig bear

Just a teaser for you guys who are going on a spring bear hunt.  Hope you put your tag on one.  Stay safe, shoot straight, and back each other up.  Wish I was with you.

Spring Bear in Idaho

Friday, March 27th, 2009

PhotobucketGary, Sue. Todd, and Sue’s dad Ed are getting ready for an Idaho bear hunt.  Todd (Gary and Sue’s son) and Ed drew the bear tags for a unit that is strictly spot and stalk.  You can read all about it, and Todd’s success from last year, over at “Base Camp Legends.”   Todd took a beautiful cinnamon colored bear last year with his rifle, and wants to try his bow this year.  The bear in the above picture was taken with a bow in an Upper Peninsula swamp. My bear weighed 500 pounds, so a bow and arrow will do the job.  It’s going to be a lot tougher for Todd though, as weather, terrain, and just the fact of having to stalk within 30 yards, will surly test his metal!

I have only been on two spring bear hunts, one in Ontario and one in Quebec.  Came back empty handed on both hunts, but it wasn’t the bears fault.  Michigan only allows a fall hunt, and now Canada has gone to a fall only hunt.  I don’t fully understand that logic, as the bear numbers continue to climb here and in Canada.  Michigan is also on a license draw (like Idaho) but it is really hard to get even one permit in 5-6 years.  It’s a good thing we typically have about 8-guys putting in for a permit.

Well good luck on your upcoming hunt Sorenson’s. (and Ed)  I did see on the news last night that a huge snow storm was pounding the west, but I think it was more Colorado and south than Idaho.  We’ll be looking for your story at “Base Camp” when you return.  Until then I’ll be practicing my turkey calling for my May 4th. hunt.

Mike

Nature and Little Girls

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

PhotobucketI took my two granddaughters HUNTING today, and we had a blast.  The ever elusive tadpole was our quarry, and we managed to bring eight of them home.  Ava (five years old) was a big help.  She held the can as “papa” trudged through the water, with his polliwog catching pan!  Actually it was my fish frying basket, but it worked great.

My brother-in-law has a small pond behind his house, and we knew it was a great tadpole hideout.  We drove down in my “man truck”, cause the girls think it’s neat.  See what a tough looking truck can do for you!  I took my knee-high boots, cause it’s still to cold to get wet feet.  Little Addisyn wasn’t sure about walking through the weeds, or getting too close to those squiggly tadpoles, and grandpa had to carry her part way.

After we captured eight tadpoles we put them in a can and walked back to the truck.  We then took a little walk along the creek looking for sign’s of life.  I expected to see some deer tracks, and was even hoping to catch a turkey sunning himself, but robins and blackbirds were all we saw.  The girls tried to catch a couple robins, and finally gave up after several attempts.  It was fun just to watch them interacting with nature in all the innocence of a little girl.  Your time is coming Art.  Your going to have a blast.

My wife is a pre-school teacher and wanted some tadpoles for her class.  I’ll probably keep a couple here just to watch their  marvelous transformation into a frog.  It will be a good “hands on” lesson for the grand-kids as well.  Nature is fantastic, but little girls rule.

Mike

Eagle Picture

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

PhotobucketHere is another awesome shot Mary Ansel took of the eagle in her back yard.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so I don’t have to say anything about this.  Just look and enjoy.

Mike

Here’s Looking at You

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

PhotobucketHere’s looking at you!  How’s this for a close up of our nations symbol?  When I was a kid the only way you could see an eagle was at a zoo or in a travelogue about Alaska.  I would of never guessed that they would almost be a common sight here in Monroe.

In the past week I’ve seen three eagles.  One was flying near the river raisin (I’ve seen this one before.)  Then this past  Monday we saw two of them while on the golf course.  Those two were flying in circles overhead, evidently looking for something to eat.  I never had my camera, so no pictures were taken.  But just the other day, my nephew Derek’s wife Mary e-mailed me and said an eagle had been perched in their backyard for most of the afternoon.  She took some pictures, and sent me this one.  It looks like the huge mature bird is staring a hole through Mary.  What a “cool” visitor to have drop in on the local squirrel population.  I’m not sure that’s what the eagle was doing, but there is an over abundance of squirrel’s running around their place.  Way to go Mary, great picture!  It almost makes you want to salute.

Mike

Lower “48” Grizzly

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

PhotobucketI had written about this grizzly 10 days ago, but the story got lost by “WordPress, so we’ll try it again.

How would like like to encounter this dinner-plate size pad taking a swipe at your “noggin?”  Those claws must be 4-5 inches long!  You can see why grizzlies rule the roost in the wilderness.  I always thought that grizzlies here in the lower 48 were somewhat smaller than their northern cousins.  This one certainly debunks that theory.  By the picture on the back of the flat bed I would have to guess this big boy at 700-800 pounds.

There are several stories floating around about this bear as to how he died.  He was hit by a semi, a pick-up, or an unfortunate motorcyclist!  Take your pick.  All I know for sure is that he was hit, by something in Montana, just over the Idaho state line.  This big “Griz” was aged at 13 years old, and was on the Montana Wildlife’s Division “hit list.”  He was well known in the area for breaking into cabins, sheds, and anything else he wanted, in search for something edible.  There was a plan to either trap and relocate, or put him down due to his marauding.  The mountain pass encounter with “steel and wheels” solved a problem, but that’s not the way you want one of these magnificent creatures to check out.  In thinking about an encounter with one of these brutes I would rather be sitting in the cab of a semi,  than standing in my hiking boots, with two nice rainbows in my backpack, and a fly-rod in my puny little hand!Photobucket

It’s Mine

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Photobucket“Just wanted to show you a picture of my “new” used truck.  I drove it home last night, and had a smile on my face for 40 miles.  I have owned over 12 trucks in my life, and all but two, have been of the smaller variety.  I just seem to prefer them over the larger vehicles.  As you can see this one is in excellent shape, and I love the cap.  I already have plans for a “Sportspal” wide beam canoe for the top carrier.

I don’t have plates for it yet, so it’s going to sit for a few weeks.  Today I just went outside and stared at it, as I thought of all the fun and adventures that are in store for me and my TRUCK!  I appreciate the comments from Gary and Art, along with Brian (former owner of this little red beauty.)  You might say it’s a “man thing” but women of the outdoors are joining the ranks as well.  Long live the truck!

Mike

A Man and His Truck

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

This past September I sold my Ford Ranger 4×4, and had to endure a hunting season “truck-less!”  I don’t recall ever being without one, and it drove me crazy.  A car was not made to go through rough terrain, mud, and water, especially if it’s your wives car!  You can’t haul ladder stands, muddy boots, rain soaked cloths, or smelly scent eliminating products in your spouses vehicle.  There’s no room for canoe’s, boats, kayak’s, and all your fishing gear.  You can’t haul wood, and you sure as heck can’t put a bloody critter in the trunk  You can’t spill your coffee, jump into the front seat after walking through a plowed field, or haul all your buddies and their gear with you.  You better not drive down an overgrown forest road without a truck, as your sure to put a few “minor” scratches in the paint.  That is if you still have paint on your trusty sidekick.  Men love their trucks!  It’s almost like an extension of themselves.  Not that women can’t appreciate the value of truck ownership, but with men it’s a necessity.

Since January I’ve been looking for a truck to fill that void in my hunting life.  Not a new one, but a good used one that I don’t have to coax and molly-coddle into the “weeds!”  Turkey season is just around the corner, and I couldn’t think of another truck-less hunt.

Well yesterday I found a rugged little Chevy 4×4, with a nice cap and a ladder rack.  It’s clean, but not too clean, sits up high, has good all terrain tires, and only had one previous owner.  I made an excepted  offer, and I pick it up this evening.  I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to have a truck back in my driveway.  This hunting season I can feel like I “belong” again, rather than “a red-headed stepchild” driving the family sedan.

Mike

Vehicle 1 Grizzly 0

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

PhotobucketThis lower 48 grizzly was killed by a semi, pickup truck, or a Harley motorcycle!  Take your pick, cause all three claim to have put this huge animal down.  One thing I know for sure.  It is one big grizzly and it is dead.  Those claws are longer than my fingers.  As the story goes he was hit near a mountain pass between Montana and Idaho.  Personally I can’t imagine a motorcycle bringing this huge bear to its knees.  That is before he took some revenge on the unfortunate rider of the bike!

The bear is supposed to be around 12 years old, and was well know in the area for “breaking and entering.”  He knew where the food sources were, and was big enough and strong enough to do pretty much whatever he set his mind to.  Who’s going to stop him?  You can see by the pictures why you wouldn’t stand a chance against an animal like this, unless your driving a semi.  When in grizzly country carry a big firearm (if lawful) or a good bear repellent.PhotobucketYou may want to make sure your insurance policies are all up to date also.